Innovation as core tenet.
At Exite ICT, they understand that innovation is essential to an IT company. Innovation Lead Bas van de Griek therefore sees it as his mission to make innovation a core tenet of the company and deeply embed it into their day-to-day operations. “Our challenge is to become more flexible as an organization. The only way to do that is through constant innovation.”
Innovative IT player
In 2019, Exite split off from its parent company Sigmax. The twenty years’ worth of knowledge and experience they took with them make Exite big enough to have an impact with new technology, yet small enough to stay flexible. The company is currently going through something of a transition. Their goal is to build a reputation as ‘that innovative IT player’. Taking part in Innovate GO and developing an app for general practitioners has brought them one step closer to this goal. The app is designed to replace the many different systems that GPs use, thereby making their work less complex and more enjoyable. “It is important to really connect to your target audience,” Bas says. “No matter how state of the art your technology is, it is all meaningless if you cannot form that connection.”
Stirring the flame
During his first month as Innovation Lead, Bas therefore focused his attention on making this connection within the company itself. “At first, some colleagues struggled to come up with their own ideas without a concrete request from management to steer them in the right direction. By now, everyone has overcome that initial hurdle. They all feel that spark inside themselves now. These small sparks will eventually grow into a blaze.” This growth is essential: “Saying that innovation is important to us would be an understatement. It is absolutely essential,” Bas says.
Even for a company like Exite, where they have someone whose entire job revolves around innovation, realizing continuous innovation is no mean feat. “We do not have people walking around with magic wands to help us. It simply boils down to hard work,” Bas explains. He believes the key is collaboration. That requires time and effort. “This is a challenge for us,” Bas says. “Our goal is to dedicate ten percent of our time to innovation. At Innovate GO, we do so as part of a multidisciplinary team. Sometimes, however, our everyday routine gets in the way and a team member has to go deal with some urgent matter. At those times, you miss some of the expertise you need.” Nevertheless, Bas believes it is worthwhile to keep setting time apart for innovation. “Today, we earn our money with our daily operations. Tomorrow, it will come from our innovations.”
Innovation as the standard
Exite has since found a way to structurally implement innovation within its organization. Bas is convinced that Exite will eventually become a household name when one thinks about innovation. For example, they plan to turn a currently empty floor of their office building into a space that exudes innovation, where people can go to be inspired. “Innovation cannot be a simple trick. You have to feel it in every fiber of your being. You will probably not get everything right the first time you enter such a process. The important thing is to just jump in and then keep at it. Before you know it, innovation will become business as usual.”